Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday morning and bike service...

This morning was a club brick session - a ride of around 25-30km with a couple hills then a 5km run to finish.

The ride was pretty familiar with the start being the Gloucester Tri course, after clearing Churchdown we went down into Hucclecote, up through Bentham and up to the Air Balloon pub. It wasn't open so we turned left at the top then down Leckhampton Hill into Cheltenham. We all managed to light up the 30mph flash sign on the way down which was pretty cool!

There was a sprint finish with Le Fassett pipping Darren to the max points, next was Mark then me :(

Quick change to the running shoes and a 4.7km loop. We set-off more or less together, after about 1km we were strung out. I pulled away and finished in 20:19, then was Le Fassett closely followed by Mark with Darren (complete with ITB issues) coming in 4th. Not bad considering he only decided to come on the run as we were leaving.

So that was the last proper training session ahead of Blenheim this coming weekend. It's a sprint tri so the training the morning was geared towards that.

My bike is now in for a break and gear service - looks like i need a new chain, new cassette and rear tyre so not going to be cheap! Lets see how it rides when i get it back. I pick it up on Wednesday so will geta couple of short rides in ahead of the weekend.

Otherwise this week will be a couple of high intensity sessions at the gym. A lido swim on Wednesday (i need to try my wetsuit as not even looked at it this season as yet!), and a couple of short runs. Got to keep something in the legs for Sunday!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Cleeve Hill Challenge

With time tight due to kids activities (squash and a party) i took the opportunity to get out on my bike for an hour. As time was a little short i planned to ride to the tope of Cleeve Hill, see what time it was and then either come back or drop down into Winchcombe and then come back up and over. To make it more interesting i timed myself from the Kings Head pub in Prestbury to see about making this a 'challenge'.

The ride is in 4 segments, up-down-up-down, it's just over 2miles to the top so in 37mins it's just over the 4 miles of climbing. Not big by Giro or Tour standards, or any European standards really but the biggest we have around here!

Stage 1 from Prestbury to the top is a long drasn out ride. From Prestbury it feels flat but is a drawn out slope. You hit the bottom of Cleeve Hill and suddently it's like a wall - out of the saddle and trying to keep the wheels turning. I am definately not a strong climber. I should be better as am not particularly heavy but i really struggle to get the power.

At the tope quick time check and unfortunately i had plenty of time to do the full ride. Down the other side into Winchcombe and then back up. The hill from Winchcombe is a longer ride, that is less steep but more drawn out. Not sure which is the easier approach really. Steep and painful but over quicker or long and less steep?

Made it to the top much easier than when i am on the Sunday morning rides but at this point i had only done 20km as opposed to the 45km that is normal by this stage. Down the Cheltenham side tipping the GPS to 69.8km p/hr - nice. At the car park and then back to the squash club.

Pretty decent ride and felt good - that despite too much red wine last night :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Gloucester Quay designer outlet??

The weather forecast was rubbish this afternoon and it was raining at lunchtime. Rather than something outdoorsy or cycly with the kids we thought we'd go over to the newly developed Gloucester Key Designer Outlet centre.

I really wish we hadn't bothered. We eventually parked and made it to the shops and it was rubbish. Nothing of any real interest and despite a lot of people (this only opened last week) there weren't many carrying bags!

The highlight was the big wheel which we went on. The sun had broken through and there were some nice views of Gloucester Cathedral and the surrounding hills.

Two people enjoyed the big wheel in particular :)

.....and then there were two

With Stoddy on family duty in Edinburgh (they think he's a wee leprechaun), Darren and Mark in Tri-Action at Gloucester it was left to Le Fassett and myself to fly the flag for the Shurdington Tri Club.

Setting off at 0715this morning the route was the familiar Badgeworth Lane to Staverton then onto Twigworth onto the A38, through Stoke Orchard into Cleeve. Then out from Woodmancote to Winchcombe over Cleeve Hill and then back through town. A 55.68km route with a little bit of everything.

There was zero wind this morning so cycling was a sociable side-by-side until we hit Cleeve Hill at which point i dropped Le Fassett like a baked potato and, dancing in the peddles, soared up the hill. Effortless beauty.....actually what happened was Le Fassett dropped me effortlessly so that i lost sight of him. I was then left to slog it up! I struggled today despite a couple of days rest (Saturday spent in the garden and yesterday visiting relatives).

A nice blast down Cleeve Hill and then through town back to the club car park. A semblance of a sprint down Shurdington Road until i was dropped again (see the patern here) and then in for a cup of coffee and some interesting conversation about in-laws!!

Another great ride and a few more miles in the legs.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

Treadmill Challenge - 21/05

Today was interesting. Off to the gym with the temptation to try another hard treadmill session, particularly as Stoddy was talking abouttrash  how the record was going to go. I decided to take a common sense approach and use a gym bike, rather than another hard one.
I did 10km on the bike in around 18mins and then hit the treadmill. I was nice and warm and upped the pace pretty quickly after a couple of minutes warm up to the running rythm. With the knowledge that the treadmill maxes out at 12mph i was at 10mph after 8minutes. Feeling ing comfortable i held thisuntil 20mins and was over 3 miles at that mark. I decided at 20minutes to then hang on for another 10 and see what happens. I upped the pace at 22mins then again at 25 with the last 2 minutes at 12mph. New PB 4.8miles! This means that 5miles in the 30minutes has to be acheiveable as i had already donea bike session before getting on the treadmill.

Working at home today - hoping to run to the lido, swim then run back. Swim will be a straight 1600m today in the interests of time.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Another Lido visit today!

I am very unpopular with my kids again today, not for sending them to bed early or being a mean dad or anything but because i went to the lido for a swim today! They love swimming (don't all kids) and get very envious.

It was great down there again, i am running out of superlatives really, great water, great surrounds and again great weather. The sun was shining and once you're in you're in.

I tried the pyramid sets today so did 100m, 200m, 300m, 400m 300m, 200m, 100m with a 20-30seconds rest between each set. It meant my swim time for the 1600m was about 40 secdonds quicker than it would if i went straight out. I thought it would have more of an effect but i guess i am not that good a swimmer for it to make that much difference.

What i really noticed today was that the length immediately after the rest feels great, the feel of the water and catch as your arms come over the tope was much more noticeable in that first one of the next set. Now all i need to do is replicate that for all the rest of the lengths as i am sure my technique deteriorates and i end up thrashing!

Telford tomorrow and a gym session - not ideal but better than nothing. Someone needs to invent something where you can exercise in your car!

Radio Gloucester

I am the manager of a local Under 9's football team, the Leckhampton Cougars, one of the parents of the players had asked if a session could be run this Wednesday so that someone from BBC Radio Gloucester could come and get involved and interview me.

It was a glorious evening in Sandford Park and we were present and correct for the 6pm start. David Smith ( fresh from the afternoon show with his recorder. There was a short interview and then he got involved with the training, partnering with one of the boys as we had an odd number. All in all it went very well.

The interview was part of National Volunteer Week which is this week and the local radio and community projects are trying to drum up interest and support for projects in the community.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Diabetes and Training

I am a Type 1 diabetic and so any training or race that I do needs careful consideration and more importantly proper preparation.

I was diagnosed as Type 1 diabetic in September 2001 and was using insulin injections from December 2001. It was quite something to deal with but at 31years old was an easier adjustment than had I been in my teens or twenties. How I developed it is still a bit of a mystery but on looking at my medical records I had viral pleurisy in the February of 2001 and the doctors felt that it may have been that that was the catalyst for developing diabetes. There was also a hereditary aspect with my maternal grandfather being a Type 1 diabetic.

I self diagnosed my diabetes based on a number of symptoms that I validated using netdoctor. I lost a lot of weight very quickly, this was masked as at the time I was cycling to work (return from Bristol to Bath daily), running with colleagues and playing football. The clincher though was the rampaging thirst that I had – I was drinking litres and litres of water and fizzy drinks to try and cut through the thirst. You Google that symptom and it's diabetes!! The doctor did a simple blood test and confirmed it – actually it was a locum doctor who bottled it and got my wife to tell me!

So September 2001 was when it happened. I was very active at this time with running, cycling etc and did not want anything to change that. The doctors explained that being fit would help with my diabetic control and so I did some research on how to manage my diabetes and learn what I could. There is surprisingly little written and I put this down to the fact that due to the seriousness of Diabetes and what getting it wrong could mean the risk of documenting something was too great. I did manage to find some information based around the exploits of Gary Mabutt and Jay Hewitt. The message was clear, it's not a barrier it just requires more planning and for the type of events that I do awareness.

As a diabetic I manage my blood sugar to ensure that within a couple of hours of eating (and the accompanying injection) my blood sugar is within a range 4-7mmol. For this I have a blood glucose monitor that works from blood I take from my finger using a pricker. I am therefore responsible for injecting the correct dose of insulin for the meal I eat. Sometimes I get this right and sometimes wrong. The wrong can either be too much insulin meaning my blood sugar drops below the healthy point or not enough meaning I am too high. Too low and there is a risk of diabetic coma and too high there is a risk of damage being done to the body by the high blood sugar count. It's a constant balancing act, everything I eat is considered against the backdrop of when did I last eat? What did I last eat? What is my blood sugar? What am I doing next? It sounds difficult but actually it's pretty intuitive and as anyone that knows me will testify it doesn't prevent me eating anything that I want to J

In the context of training my preparation is vital. Before any session I need to know what my blood sugar is currently and when the last injection was. In practice this means I cannot train within at least 2hrs of eating, it also means that when I do I need to make sure my blood sugar is high enough so that I do not crash too low during the session. As a rule of thumb I try to start any session with a blood sugar of between 8-11mmol and then depending on the session will carry gels/energy bars/glucose or sometimes just the glucose. For a run a blood sugar of that level in context of when I last ate/injected is good for up to 10km without additional nutrition. Basically anything up to 40-50mins. For cycle sessions or brick sessions of around 2hrs plus I will eat a gel after 45mins then eat an energy bar about 1.5hrs in. That's enough to get me through and finish with a good blood sugar level. Essentially I have to make sure that I have enough nutrition with me for the training session and cannot afford to bonk under any circumstances.

Managing blood sugar while I am training is relatively straight forward as the nutritional supplements that are available make this straight forward. I use a variety of products, PowerBar gels, SIS gels etc then Nak'd bars, TREK Bars etc. All washed down with Nuun.

Where it gets a little more tricky is post training. After a session my blood sugar is more responsive to insulin meaning that I need to adjust my insulin doseage down to take into account the impact of training. This sees me more often than not doing what I call chasing blood sugar. It goes like this, have a meal with insulin, the insulin acts quicker/more efficient meaning that I then need to eat again much sooner than normal. I find this very difficult as too low and insulin and the blood sugar will be high but slightly wrong in the post exercise zone and it plummets. I then end up eating additional food that I don't really want. Cereal bars, or cereal and bananas are favourites. Along with muffins J it's manageable but means I generally eat more than I need to or want to.

When training with a group or buddy make sure they know you are diabetic and what they should do if something happens. On race day it's important to make sure you write your medical situation on the back of your race number. Something may happen that is unrelated to your diabetes but whoever finds and attends to you will need to know. You have to take responsibility for yourself.

Through all of this the overriding message that I have learned is that by being fit and working out I am better able to manage my diabetes. I have had illustrations of this as when injured and not training the amount of insulin I need to dose myself with increases and the responsiveness decreases. My control also varies wildly and I tend to have more highs and lows as opposed to the consistent levels that I generally experience. This adds to the depression of not being able to train knowing that as well as my fitness deteriorating I am also losing good diabetic control.

The fact is that if you are diabetic the impact of training on your blood sugar and control is, if you are like me, massive. When training I am a 'good' diabetic with great control. My 6 monthly levels rarely above 7 etc. When not training the range of blood sugar readings is more broad and I will peek over the 7 mark for the 6monthly levels. Also with all the complications associated with diabetes taking care of yourself and training can only help to delay these complications and potentially help to prevent them. Things like heart disease and obesity for example.

Obviously I am not a doctor and this is based on my experience and something that I have been doing from day 1 as a diabetic. It definitely works for me but the message has to be that you need to consider what you are doing, how you are doing it and what your nutritional needs will be. Once you have that assessed make sure you carry more food than you need as you never know what will happen out there!

Diabetes doesn't need to prevent you from tackling anything you just need to make sure you plan it correctly and if you are starting out consult your doctor or clinic. I am not a doctor just someone who has learned through trial and error what works for me.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Training weekend...

This was a good weekend for sport!

Saturday got up a little earlier than normal to get a quick 7km run in then in the afternoon, after a Cougars 7-0 friendly win Luca had squash and with Sue and Amelie at the garden centre i went for a nother run. This one just over 8km but at a much slower pace. Was great except for being heckled by a 13 year old who then scarpered when i chased him!! Never have a 13 year olds legs moved so fast! I was livid!!

This morning was a Tri Club ride - we left at 7:30 with the weather pretty good despite the horrendous forecast. The plan was a 55km ride over Cleeve Hill. We set off in shorts and a single pair of socks with the warmer weather. The ride was great but the wind was slowing us down and sapping our strength. As a group we can cruise around 35kph in the first hour. We turned onto the A38 and into a headwind that slowed us to 24kph. A real slog.

We carried on through Stoke Orchard, Bishops Cleeve then out through Gotherington to Winchcombe - a really scenic ride and with signage for the British Heart Foundation Cotswold Ride (40miles).

We dropped down into Winchcombe and then was the King of the Mountains points. We started as a group with the 2mile climb. The order then took shape with Le Fassett pushing on followed by Mark. Darren pushed me hard and i think it was probably the best team performance to the top of the hill that we have had. We were all riding hard.

As we started the descent the rain started. The road down was slippery and greasy making for nervous descending. At the foot of the hill we hit the Heart Foundation riders as they approached the mile2 marker. The rain by now was hammering down and we were drenched. Spray from back wheels was also flying. We left the HF's and contined through town and up Bath Road. The rain was o bad at this point that i could barley see beyond my front wheel.

As we cam to the end of the ride Le Fassett and the Flying Dutchman set off. I could not grab the wheel and Mark was some way behind me. The placing went to Darren in his first victory, Le Fassett second.

We were soaked and cold through and it felt great!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

14/05 - Treadmilll Challenge

Having done a treadmill session in the work gym on Tuesday I thought, at about 20minutes in, that having a 30minute treadmill challenge would be an interesting one for the Shurdington Tri Club. So the challenge was set and is pretty simple, a treadmill, zero incline, 30minutes and how far can you go…the only requirement is a photo to prove your distance!
On Tuesday I managed 4.23miles but, like I said, I only considered the challenge at 20minutes in. Today I went for it, set myself out to start with a 5minutes easy pace (about 7.5mph) then gradually increased the pace in line with a rough schedule based on 5minute time slots and distance markers. What actually happens is I increase the speed ahead of schedule if I feel good – a psychological trick I guess.
At just over 20minutes I was at 3miles I then increased the pace to 10mph then quickly to 10.3mph. I did about a minute at that pace then went to 10.5mph. That felt too difficult (I probably never left enough time at 10.3mph) so I dropped back down. At 25mins up to 10.5mph, at 26mins 11mph then at 28mins 12mph. Finally completed, soaking wet at 4.67miles. Heart rate data was interesting – my avg. was 152 with the max. at 174 (courtesy of my Suunto T4). 
Psychologically i tried not to look at the clock as time seems so slow! I had the Quadrathon (@quadrathon) podcast on my iPod and tried to just relax and almost zone out. It kind of worked. When you start out 30minutes seems a long time but it really isn't!
The other guys are trying this tonight so there will be more updates to the website. I will try this again next week with the aim being to get to 5miles in 30minutes. Maybe, maybe not!!??

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I didn't make it to the Lido today as the kids trampoline arrived and it needed assembling. I didn't do much, Sue and her parents did the majority but i couldn't very well leave them and go for a swim!!

So this evening i went for a run, 8.33km in 36minutes. Pretty good but was a strange evening. A strange light and climate. Neother one thing nor the other.

Tomorrow i'm going to try the treadmill challenge - got 4.23miles to beat in 30minutes. I also know that the other guys will be trying that this week aswell and so need to make sure of a good showing! More tomorrow...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Treadmill Session

I was at work in Telford today so aside from 3hrs in the car commuting it meant that i could use the gym. The gym is pretty decent and in the building that i work in so i have no issue getting there etc. Just that i prefer to be outside - particularly when the sun is shining.

So today was a treadmill session - 4.23miles in 30mins. Funny the gym is great but the machines are so old they still calculate in miles! Anyway that was followed by some stretching and some weights (i am so weak!) then back to the office for lunch.

Not a bad session but not a great one by any stretch of the imagination.

I am hoping to get to the Lido tomorrow for a swim but will drive to save time. Running there and back is great but does make a lunch break a little over the top really. That said a swim is a swim and the water was fantastic when i was there on Friday.

Let's see how it goes!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dutchman punctures rubber three times

Today was to be a race pace brick session. One lap of the Gloucester Tri bike course as a groupetto then a lap racing followed by a transition and 5km run.

The first lap of the bike started well enough although i got some stick form my skins compression calf guards! About 10km in the Flying Dutchman caught a flat. The team stopped and changed the tyre with much banter around Le Fasset's job and love life.

Flat repaired we set-off again - 3minutes and another flat for the not so flying Dutchman. Another repair and then, guess what, another flat! At this point we had to abandon him as there was clearly a bigger problem with his wheel.

We finished the warm-up lap then set-off on the race. The pace on the bike was pretty quick with Nigel and Le Fassett quickly breaking away on the first rise. Mark tried to keep pace, he pulled away from me easily but couldn't bridge the gap to the breakaway.

Into transition and a quck change of footwear saw the run start. Nigel had a pretty convincing lead closely followed by Le Fasset then Mark and me. About a third of the way into the run i caught Mark then Le Fassett. Nigels lead was too great to close in <5km>

(Left to right, Marcus, Nigel, Le Fassett, Mark)

Everybody scarpered quick after the session with various commitments including child swimming, visiting in-laws and er a jacuzzi beckoning.

So it's to the repair shop for the Dutchman and planning for the next weeks training and session on Sunday.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Slow training week

Football matches and gym closures meant that training was seriously dented this week. I trained on Sunday and Monday then had a break until Friday which was very frustrating. The Friday session was, however, a great one.

The lido opened at the beginning of May and so i ran from the house to the Lido (works out at 4.2km) did my swim (10 sets of 200m) then a run home. Took it nice and easy on the runs and the swim was great. The water was incredible and the weather fine.

Felt good to do a proper session after a couple of days forced out. The football reference is the Champions League semi-final in which Chelsea were frankly robbed. The referee was to quote an angry Ivorian "...a disgrace..." i think he may have used an expletive though. Difficult to know what to think, all i can say is that Luca and I were speechless and gutted. Two minutes away and then all taken incredible result at the end of an incredible game.

There's always next year eh!

Today was an interesting day - the Cougars were in a tournament at a local school. We've not had a get together in a couple of weeks which was deliberate after the end of season emotions. Anyway we played in the league format, games were 10minutes straight through. We won 3, drew 3 and lost 1. We struggled to impose our game in the short period. Normal matches are 30minutes and we are a side that starts slow but has power and fitness to keep playing the same way and get the result. We are also very stroing in defence areas. Today we struggled though. A return to Saturday training should see some cohesion returned and some zip and enthusiasm to the boys.

Have to remember that this is under 9's though!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Free from stabilizers!!

No stabilisers!!

Today has been a good day!

Trained this morning with Le Fasset and the Flying Dutchman - Nigel had a golf game and Mark has injured himself playing the devils sport (5-a-side). So the plan today was to do 2 laps of the Gloucester Triathlon bike course and then a 7km run.

The bike course was ok but took us through some streets which is not that much fun really - prefer the open road. Plus we did two laps which is soooo boring! On the second lap the Flying Dutchman and me managed to get away from Le Fassett and were working well together. The headwind meant that he would have struggled to catch us, when disaster.....puncture for Mr. Booy to the rear wheel. A quick change (er around 15minutes!!) and we were off again only Le Fassett had caught us up!

The rest of the route was without incident and in the home staright Le Fassett pulled away and was unreachable to claim the points for first back without a life or death sprint.

The run was very relaxed - the 7km chalked up in 35mins which is pretty slow for that distance. As we came down the home stretch i opened my legs and thought i had dropped Le Fassett. As i reached my hedge and was stopping my stopwatch and garmin he came thundering past me like a steam train - i nearly jumped out of my skin! Fortunately that meant he couldn't talk for a few minutes which was nice ;)

But, the best thing today has to be that my daughter, Amelie, is now cycling minus her stablisers! What a great moment. We went to Montpellier Park and she was cycling on the grass under her own steam with no problems! It has just clicked!! Great stuff - just needs to practice lots now!! Brilliant though and her smile when she did it was just the best :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Ran the Gloucester Tri Bike Course

What a great day - sunshine and a long run.

This Sunday the group are doing two laps of the Glos Tri bike circuit then a run so i thought i'd check out the route on foot. I clocked the 17.90km in 1hr 18min which was pretty pleasing. I felt like i could have easily carried on and gone quicker. The running is really coming on well, the cycling too just the swimming.

My chest and shoulders are tender after the Thursday morning swim - i managed 10x200m but need to do more regular sessions....

Blenheim is close and Windsor the following week!